Where do you write your WordPress posts? If you’re writing them in the WordPress Editor from the beginning, I think you’re making things a lot more aggravating than they need to be.
Instead, you can write your posts directly in Google Docs to take advantage of its far superior functionality. The only tricky part is then how to bring posts from Google Docs into WordPress. And that’s what I’m going to cover in today’s post.
First, I’ll show you the exact manual process I use to import my posts from Google Docs to WordPress. And then, if you’re not a fan of manual, I’ll give you some options for automatically importing posts, including images, from Google Docs to WordPress.
Why Google Docs is Superior to the WordPress Editor
I think Google Docs is a superior writing experience in literally every aspect except publishing convenience. And while I could probably spend 4,000 words listing every reason why I think that’s so, I’ll just stick to the highlights.
Less Chance of Losing Work
Yes, WordPress has included an autosave function for quite some time. But, it doesn’t hold a candle to Google Docs. With Google Docs, you can pretty much close your browser or lose your Internet connection immediately after writing something and it will still get saved.
Compare that to WordPress where the autosave function is far from instant. Though you can configure the autosave interval by digging into some code, I believe the default is something like 60 seconds. Losing 60 seconds of work might not seem like a huge deal, but through my own testing, I’ve actually scientifically proven that it is the most annoying thing that can happen to a human being.
I've also had plenty of times where the WordPress autosave feature just plain didn't work.
Easy to Add Comments
I don’t know what your drafts look like, but my drafts are usually littered with comments like “this sounds bad - make it better” or “provide a source”. Google Docs makes it beautifully easy to add those comments.
Then, rather than breaking your writing flow (which slows down your writing), you can just come back to the comments after you’re finished with your first draft.
If you’re a solo-blogger, you probably don’t really care about this. But anyone working with a writing team will love how easy collaboration is with Google Docs. As soon as you’re finished with a draft, you can share that link with your editor or other writers. They can add suggestions which you can quickly approve or reject.
I don’t think there’s an easier method of revision control for writers.
Google Doc’s One Folly...
So, now to the problem with Google Docs - after you finish writing your post, you have to get it into WordPress somehow. This can certainly be frustrating, but there are some ways you can streamline the process to make it as painless as possible.
How to Import Posts from Google Docs the Manual Way
There are extensions that purport to automatically import posts from Google Docs. I’ll get into them in the next section. But, because you won’t always have the access necessary to use these plugins unless you’re the site owner, the manual method is a good fallback.
I’ve also found some automated solutions unreliable. From reading, it seems Google Docs made some changes which broke many of the older automated import methods.
So, here’s the manual method I use, which is never in danger of becoming obselete:
Step 1 - Do the Formatting in Google Docs
Google Docs has a handy drop down selector that lets you add H2 and H3 tags to your document. These tags will stay there even when you bring them into WordPress. And while WordPress has a similar feature, I find Google Doc’s to be more fluid.
You can add additional formatting like bold, italics, links and lists. It will all come through fine.
Step 2 - Clean Up Your HTML
There’s a problem with directly copying and pasting from Google Docs into the WordPress editor. While things might look fine on the frontend, your code is going to look like this on the backend:
See those <span> tags around every single block of text? While they’re not the end of the world, they’re a negative when it comes to code cleanliness. You don’t want them in your post when they’re not adding anything.
So, to clean up the HTML, you just need to quickly hop over to a tool called HTML Cleaner. All you do is paste in your text on the left, click Clean HTML, and grab your clean HTML code from the right:
Step 3 - Paste in the Text Tab of WordPress Editor
Now that your code is all cleaned up, you’re ready to paste it directly in the Text tab of the WordPress Editor:
When you switch to the Visual tab, everything should look perfect without the garbage code.
Step 4 - Add Your Images
Now, all you need to do is add your images and you’re ready to Publish. To quickly resize lots of images, you can use the Batch Image Resizing Made Easy tool, and you can optimize your images with Kraken if your site doesn’t have a plugin that automatically optimizes images.
How to Import Posts from Google Docs the Automated Way
If you’re writing for a WordPress site that you have admin access to, you can try one of these automated methods to streamline things even more.
Wordable (formerly Postable) - One Click WordPress Imports
Wordable, formerly known as Postable, is a fairly new product from the guys behind a popular blog called Grow and Convert. I haven’t had a chance to personally try it because I primarily write for other people’s blogs now, but I trust the people behind the product.
It lets you export entire posts, including images, from Google Docs into WordPress. The automatic image uploading is one of the big draws here. Having to manually add images is definitely the biggest downside of the manual method I outlined above.
If you’re blogging for your own site, or are an editor with admin access, I think this tool is definitely worth trying out.
Wordable has two pricing plans:
- Free (with conditions) - If you include a tagline/link at the end of your post, Wordable is free. The tagline reads “This post was imported into WordPress in one click using Wordable." They also offer free credits for mentioning Wordable in the body of posts. Just to be clear, that is not what I’m doing here.
- Standard - $19.99/month - You get unlimited exports. No link requirements.
Other Automated Options - Publish to WordPress Chrome Extension
There was a popular Chrome extension from Plugmatter called Publish to WordPress which offered similar functionality to Wordable. It still exists, but I could not personally get it to work. From reading the reviews, it seems I’m not alone in experiencing difficulties.
So, while I include this extension because it was recommended to me at one time and there’s a chance the developer fixes the issue, it comes with the major caveat that the extension may just be globally broken. You can try it if you don’t want to pay money for Wordable - just be aware that you may very well experience similar difficulties.
If you’re writing for your own site, definitely give Wordable a look. I know it’s another monthly fee, but if you do the math on how much time you spend fiddling with the WordPress Editor, you’ll probably come out ahead even after paying $19.99 per month.
If you’re a freelance writer like me, you're stuck with manually importing posts. As far as I know, at least!
If you know a better way to import posts from Google Docs to WordPress, I’d love to hear it in the comments.